Butterfly Girl

PAPILIO MACHAON

The wooden window frame creaks gently at the caress of the breeze.  Dew drops tremble on the laden blades of grass running from the mailbox to the front steps.  Sunglow shines at the edge of the world, kissing the brickwork of the sleepy cottage, built long ago for someone’s profit, filled this day mostly with love.  In the kitchen, the faintest click signals the release of water, soon to be steam, then to become the rich black elixir that she loves with just a dash of cream.

As always the alarm is set but unneeded.  Her long lashes flutter open to the glow of this new day.  Most mornings her first thoughts are steeped in gratitude…for all of it.  For her life, her child, her present moment, and still with some difficulty she embraces and acknowledges her gratitude for the past.  Every day has lead to this moment, the aroma of coffee, the faint light filling the skylights, the peace that once seemed a phantom now seems a life.

“Mom”

“Yes, my darling one.”

“Can I have some coffee?”  Her son Jonah asks.

“Certainly, but no sugar please.”

“Nevermind.”

“Joey, have you noticed what an amazing gift this morning is?”

“Yes mom, I said my gratitudes,” his words wander naturally down this well-worn path.

“Excellent! I love you!”

“Love you too.”

Three paintings hang on the wall, across the room from her king size bed.  The painting on the left is of an intricately patterned caterpillar making its way across a birch branch in what looks to be late Summer.  The next is of a delicate chrysalis suspended from a similar branch in the Fall.  The painting on the right is of a magnificent butterfly taking wing in the Spring.  So it goes that not every day has been this day, full of comfort, and love.  But today, a few before, and many after will be very much like this one.

Discomfort, I’ve heard tell, is the price of admission to a meaningful life.  Knowing the Butterfly Girl’s story, I believe that to be true.

#fiction

Have thoughts on the subject?  Please comment.  Life is bigger and better with shared experience!

Aren’t You Too Old To Wear a Fireball Whiskey T-shirt?

Fireball T

Oh millennials, how you see things for what they appear to be…to you!  The exact exchange went something like this.

Millennial: “Aren’t your too old to wear a Fireball Whiskey T-shirt?  As they say, If you’re old enough to buy Fireball, you’re too old to drink Fireball.”

Me: “Whatever.”

Good point though in some respects.  That cinnamon-laced antifreeze is probably not a good nutritional choice at any age.  What struck me as funny was that until that moment ageism had gone missing in my world.  I, no longer being concerned with “fitting in” in the same way that most of us were so obsessed with in high school, didn’t register the ‘age issue’ as it related to “the shirt.”  Whatever…really, again with the “whatever?”  Joking aside, the reality of the conversation ran deeper than cotton.  People divide the value of another individual’s input into categories.  If you’re too old, or too young, too Red or too Blue, to this ethnic background or too that, male or female, you may not be able to connect with an alternate demographic.  To that, I say…maybe.

Seems to me that we as humans have the option to transcend all manner of barriers; be they related to race, socio-economic status, age, gender, etc.  The question is, will we?  If we are willing to open our minds to the circumstances of others can we not then remain pertinent and more importantly in ‘learning mode’ until the day we clock out?  Even if those with whom we attempt to connect are as yet unable to open their minds to our way of thinking?  I’d like to think so.

Pre-industrial revolution cultures valued the accumulation of wisdom.  Hence the term “wise men…and women.”  That wisdom was acquired most commonly by those who had lived long enough, and processed enough life experience to know more than the average sixteen-year-old.  Nowadays said sixteen-year-old can web surf their way to information over the course of a summer that would have formerly taken a lifetime to gather.  Knowledge is power…but is it wisdom?

Back to the ‘Fireball Whiskey T-shirt.”  Yes, I get that the shirt is a marketing tool used by the creators of said elixir, but I really liked the art on the “T” so I bought it.  A fire-breathing lion-ish creature in a majestic, upright pose appealed to me at the moment.  Art, be its simple, or rich in complexity is just that…art.  All art is timeless if we, the viewers allow ourselves to join in the concept of timelessness.  We don’t have to love it.  We can even hate it.  Either way, we can choose to allow it.  We can choose to coexist with it without feeling threatened.

I started going grey around the time of my fortieth birthday.  As a lifetime wannabe rock star that did not sit well.  Enter my hair salon phase.  As a fortieth birthday self-gifting experiment I saloned up and had my hair dyed.  I liked it!  So much so that I continued the practice for over a decade.  I didn’t want to be judged by my age; not by peers, not by clients, not by me.  Of course, I realize that my reaction is unique and that everyone else wants to become and, more importantly, look older…ha!  Age is wisdom after all so who doesn’t want to look wise right?

Nowadays I have let nature take its course with my physical being.  Long silver hair spills over my shoulders and as a result, I garner an equal dose of both disapproving looks, and comments along the lines of “I love your hair, do you hear that a lot?”  I do.  But I’ve also heard from colleagues, “Hey, have you ever thought about cutting your hair man” and/or aren’t you too old to be wearing that shirt?”  Whatever, part three!

With any luck, you find being yourself fun.  I know I do.  With the end game in mind, I no longer concern myself with being accessed from afar.  I know that within a few minutes of conversation, value can be transmitted, established, and solidified.  It’s conversation, honest interaction, that allows a person’s value to be understood.  It is connection, human, face to face, that creates the opportunity for transcendence.  It’s the combined powers of wisdom and patience that allow any ‘shirt’ to bear no weight in the outcome of one’s ability to bring gifts to the world.  Going softly into that dark night… in my opinion is a “no.”  “Roar till the end like the lion guy on my T-shirt,” say I.

So I’ll wear that dumb shirt, not cut the hair, give at every opportunity and smile on my way out!  Oh millennials, how our conversations will be different a decade or two from now; when life has had it’s way with you.  And so, with a grin, I raise a shot of fireball to you all while wishing you the absolute best of times!

Have thoughts on the subject?  Please comment.  Life is bigger and better with shared experience!

Black Bird

Black Bird Peggy Michik 2

It’s weird how we all take flight at the same time.  Pecking away at the lawn one minute, in a barren tree the next.  Sometimes I wonder if we are all bound to a single consciousness.  If we all came from one bird, and so share some genetic connection that lets us anticipate each other’s thoughts.  That would be cool.  Where would the first bird have come from? An egg?  That doesn’t make much sense.  Oh well, I’m just a bird with a bird brain, but I think I’m at least an average, if not above average blackbird, and that’s cool.

I like the migration ritual.  It always happens around the same time. We fly over all the places that won’t be warm enough, stop on a high wire overlooking buildings, or a road, then move on.  It seems like the wires are getting easier to find every year.  More wires, fewer trees.  I guess that’s what the humans call progress.  I call it weird.  How many wires, roads or building does one species need, right?  Oh well, I’m just a bird looking for berries and seeds.  Sometimes as a protest to all the pavement I eat a bunch of berries and then set my flight path so that I can poop on cars.  It’s my little way of saying “hello, we live here too.”  It’s especially fun to hit the ones that are moving, windshield hits are my favorite.

Anyway, enough about progress.  The trip has gotten easier over the last few years.  Not sure why, but we don’t have to fly as far to find warmth.  The most interesting thing about the trip is seeing all the new stuff that humans build each year.  Sometimes, after flying for a long time we all suddenly decide to visit a tree or field that we liked a lot on our last trip.  No one chirps about it, we all just go.  Last year after a long stretch of flying I found myself extra hungry and tired.  I was dreaming of a big field beside a red barn that we’d stopped at last year.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one because the whole flock was aiming for it like one colossal multi-part being.  Anyway, when we got there, it was a parking lot, and shopping mall, bummer.

We collectively thought “Well shit!” then perched on power lines overlooking that grassless space.  People were coming and going with armloads of stuff, shopping carts, sunglass, the works.   I guess they make more humans every year.  That must be why they keep building stuff.  There are fewer of us this year than last.  Not a big difference but it does feel weird.  Like the collective consciousness of bird-dom is being downsized.  I guess that’s sad, but it means more food for me if we find a nice spot.

Speaking of nice spots.  I wonder if sometime in years to come will be warm enough to just stay home for the winter.

Have thoughts on the subject?  Please comment.  Life is bigger and better with shared experience!